Working Dogs For Vets has reached a critical juncture in our organization's ability to meet the needs of our beneficiaries. Without a campus, we are greatly limited in the number of dogs we can accommodate in our training program, making it impossible to serve the ever-increasing number of veterans applying to our organization. The time has come to build a permanent home, a home that will ensure our ability to create life-changing partnerships for generations to come.
This is the home that will "unleash" our full potential and that of every hero and dog that we serve.
In the summer of 2019, we purchased 22 acres located at 3138 Buffalo Rd in Lawrenceburg, TN and are now embarking on a capital campaign to raise funds for building a training campus. It's a critical component of our strategic growth plan to meet the high demand for service dogs in the United States. We're making progress toward this long-awaited dream after more than 19 years of being primarily home-based, with dedicated volunteers housing all of our dogs. We are grateful for the support of our donors and volunteers over the years and look forward to sharing this dream with you as it becomes a reality. Please contact us to learn more about supporting the Working Dogs For Vets capital campaign or consider making a donation.
More info at www.workingdogsforvets.org/capital-campaign
How big will the campus be and how much will it cost to build?
We anticipate having approximately 16,000 square feet of structures at full build-out. We are committed to siting the buildings where they will be buffered from neighboring properties, and we will incorporate water and energy efficiency and sustainability into our designs. We estimate needing to raise approximately $5 million dollars to complete the full campus, which will include site design and development and the construction of buildings. We will build in three phases and the majority of funding will come from generous individual, corporate, and foundation gifts.
What buildings are planned?
Our Veterans/Service dog cabins will contain 24 cabin suites that will accommodate up to 48 dogs in training. Each suite will resemble a home living situation and have a shaded patio area and access to a large play yard. Our suites are designed for comfort and low stress, so our dogs will be relaxed and able to focus on learning their new skills. Specialized dog training kennels are planned for those times when we are expecting shelter dogs and behavioral training and modification. Additionally, an observation area is planned for times that we may need to care for a sick dog or have incoming dogs from shelters or other assistance dog programs that need to be held in quarantine. This building will also contain rooms for food preparation, grooming, laundry, and storage.
Our Training Center will be the hub for all things educational, for both heroes and dogs. Our dogs learning advanced skills will be trained here each day in preparation for placement with their partners. The training center will contain training props and some areas that will simulate a home or work environment for dogs to learn such skills as opening and closing doors, turning on and off lights, loading a washing machine, taking off bed covers and retrieving a telephone. The training center will also be used to conduct weekly training classes for our volunteers who are fostering dogs and education classes for Heroe's who are partnered with a WDFV service dog. The administrative center will provide staff and volunteer offices as well as a conference room.
Our Veterans Lodge will contain 6 fully accessible rooms and bathrooms for Heroes and their dogs, as well as caregivers if required. Having accommodations on-site will allow our veterans to focus on their training and not have to concern themselves with transportation to and from hotels and restaurants. The lodge will also be less stressful for our dogs as they adapt to working and living with a new partner before being exposed to the rigors of public life.
Will you still use volunteers to help raise and train service dogs?
Absolutely! Volunteers are the backbone of our organization and we will continue to rely on volunteers to train happy, healthy, and confident dogs for our training program. Our campus will provide a place for volunteers to bring dogs if they are going on vacation or if the dog needs extra attention for a short period of time. It will also provide a place for volunteers, staff, and Heroes to gather for continuing education workshops. Dogs in advanced training will also have a place to stay while working with our staff trainers as they refine the essential skills they will need before they can be placed with their life-time partner. The campus will also be a place for volunteers to come to help with short-term tasks such as grooming and assembling canine care kits for our service dog trainers and Heroes.
Will the dogs feel comfortable and secure on campus?
Our values remain the same as always, with a "Dogs First" approach to our work. Having a permanent campus will further the comfort and care of our dogs by providing a home base for our dedicated volunteers, staff, and Heroes. The Cabin will be designed for maximum dog comfort. The kennel will be painted in warm colors, furnished with clean bedding, have access to natural light and dedicated outdoor space, and provide plenty of places for socialization and supervised play. Our staff will start each day by bringing a dog to their office and taking them outside regularly to dedicated play yards. We will also have caretakers on-site 24/7 and live-feed cameras that will allow for remote monitoring across the campus.
How will have a campus benefit W.D.F.V. 's Veterans?
Nationwide, there is a great shortage of professionally trained service dogs and mobility assistance dogs. Most people wait several years to receive one or they may not receive one at all. Our Heroe's wait time is at most 1-3 years to receive their partners. Most veterans are served by WDFV in less than a year. Without a campus, we are greatly limited in the number of dogs we can accommodate in our training program, making it impossible to serve the ever-increasing number of Heroes applying to our organization. We are working toward a day when every qualified applicant will be able to receive a life-changing assistance dog from us within six months and a permanent campus will help us reach this goal.
The campus will also provide comfortable spaces for new veterans to stay during the two-week team training where they will learn to live and work with their new service dog, as well as a place for current clients to come for continuing education and skill-building workshops with their assistance dog. A permanent campus will enable us to continue our commitment to provide lifelong support for all of our service dog partnerships.
Do you receive government funding?
No, WDFV has received no government funding to date. Our work is funded entirely by generous donors, community organizations, businesses, and foundations. Thanks to our supporters, we are able to provide our highly-skilled assistance dogs free of charge to qualified applicants.
Veteran/Dog Team: Cabin #1 housing unit for the veterans and dogs in training Under Construction!!! Sponsored by: Hankook Tires Phase 1 of The American Gold Star Mothers Memorial and Walking Trail at Working Dogs For Vets Headquarters has started. Thank you (AGSM) for your partnership and for raising awareness of veteran suicide rates. 22 A DAY IS A TRAGEDY! HELP US FIGHT VETERAN SUICIDE.